Counselors shouldn't express beliefs

 

I am writing in response to the Augusta State University lawsuit alleging religious discrimination concerning a student's beliefs about the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

I also am a graduate counseling student at a different university, and was told at the interview that "you can have whatever opinion or beliefs you desire, but it is unprofessional and potentially harmful to express it."

Jennifer Keeton alleges that writing papers and undergoing diversity classes are forcing her to change her beliefs, but I disagree. Changing your opinion and simply not expressing it are two starkly different things. When a client comes to see you, they often are in a vulnerable, emotional state. If someone in a position of power informs them they are "wrong," this statistically increases the likelihood of suicide or harm.

Universities do not make up diversity procedures to be ornery or disrespectful to students' beliefs -- these are professional guidelines and regulations followed in the counseling field. If universities do not correct behaviors that counselors cannot exhibit for safety reasons, they are not only at risk of losing their accreditation, but they are setting up students for failure.

Ms. Keeton would be fired for these behaviors in the workplace. If she cannot follow national guidelines for the profession, perhaps she should consider other scholarly pursuits.

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Wed, 04/26/2017 - 00:16

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